Huffpost Sports
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Esther Lofgren Headshot

My First 24 Hours in London: Ralph Lauren, the Rowing Village and a Letter

Posted: Updated:
Me and my rowing blankie! Home for the next two weeks...

Wow. The past 24 hours have already been amazing, and we've only just arrived in London! I'm about to shut my eyes after an action-packed but thoroughly awesome day that started in New Jersey and is ending here under my beautiful Olympic-sport comforter here at the Rowing Olympic Village.

Me and Saida, Team U.S.A's #1 Fan!

We hopped on a red-eye at Newark last night, and before I got a great (if short) sleep, I met Saida, a huge fan of the Olympics and, hopefully, a future rower (I'm always recruiting!). Talking with her reminded me how huge our support is here in the U.S.A, and it was neat to share my goals and journey with her just as I am starting this final step for all of our training with my team.

Accreditation-bound!

Rowing dorms--outside view!

Home sweet home!

As soon as we landed, oodles of friendly and helpful London 2012 volunteers shuttled us to our accreditation, where we got the passes "our lives depend on"! Then it was off to grab our luggage and head to the Rowing Olympic Village, one of the satellite Olympic Villages near to Dorney Lake. We'll be staying here through the end of racing, and it's a beautiful place to be living with Team U.S.A and focusing on our job at hand: getting ready to have the best races of our lives!

Yes -- there is a lane just for us!

Just before heading in to the awesome craziness!

Just minutes later, it was time to head into the city and get "processed." Even after hearing stories from the women in Athens and Beijing about this crazy building where awesome sponsors bedeck you with bags and boxes of gear and goodies, I was totally unprepared for how almost overwhelmingly amazing it was! We started at Ralph Lauren, where we were fitted for our Opening and Closing Ceremony kit. The video crew asked me to say a few words about the gear, and it was really neat to have the opportunity to say how elegant and athletic our whole team looked in the outfits!

Susan & I modeling closing and opening ceremony kit!

Then we went through the other stations -- our headshots, ring fittings (Hamilton Jewelers gives every Olympian a beautiful watch and ring!), Proctor & Gamble Welcome Kit pick-up (everything I could have possibly needed to pack -- thank you!), and Oakley (so excited to race in my Olympic-Edition Miss Conducts!)

A small fraction of the tons of awesome gear we received today!

And then -- the huge dressing room and what seemed like 8,000 things to try on from Nike and Ralph Lauren, each cooler than the next! Nike designed a whole slew of really sharp outfits, and I couldn't even wait until tomorrow to wear some of it to the dining hall tonight. Our team left looking great and ready to get out on the water and race!

A wave from the Queen during our tour-bus ride home.

We took a tiny tour of the major London sights on the way home -- Westminister Abbey (sadly, no Princess Kate sighting!), the Gherkin building, the London Eye, the Tate, and many more. It will be great to explore the city more after racing -- but first, it's time to race! So then home for dinner, posting this blog, and now, bed.

U.S.A team table at the dining hall.

One of the other amazing things about today was a letter that was waiting for me when I got back to my room tonight. At our Olympic Ambassador training several months ago, we were asked to write a letter to ourselves -- one that we'd open if we made it to the Olympics. I had completely forgotten about it, and opened the letter to find a huge reminder of the work that we've put in as a team over the last four years and the tons of support that are beaming over here from everyone we know in the U.S.A. It was so moving and it really sunk in -- this is it. I'm here. At the Olympics. Ready to have the best races of my life and find an entirely new gear to go to in our racing. I cannot wait! This has been unlike anything I've ever done before, and I've only been in the country for just over 12 hours. Just -- amazing. I can't wait for what the next three weeks will bring! Go U.S.A!

A reminder to be all that I can be.

From Our Partners